On Monday morning, President Donald Trump fully re-endorsed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones, after distancing himself from Moore in recent weeks due to sexual assault allegations. In backing Moore, Trump cited Democratic obstruction on the tax reform bill.
“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”
Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2017
Trump’s endorsement followed weeks of silence and a tepid statement about the race. After The Washington Post released several sexual assault allegations against Moore early last month, Moore denied the “completely false” allegations, but Trump and his spokesmen did not take a position.
“Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a persons life,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
Moore’s denials seemed less than convincing to many. “We are uncomfortable with the explanations that Roy Moore has given to date,” White House legislative director Marc Short told ABC News. “Obviously if he did not believe the women’s accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore.”
Later last month, Trump attacked Jones in remarks to reporters, suggesting a slight endorsement of Moore. “I can tell you one thing for sure. We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump said. “Jones, I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on the military.”
Even so, Trump did not endorse Moore in those comments. He did note, however, that Moore has “totally” denied the allegations against him. Did that mark the point at which Trump no longer believed the allegations were credible?
A CBS News poll of Alabama Republicans released Sunday found that 71 percent believe the allegations against Moore to be false.
Moore spoke at a church in Dothan last Thursday, and almost entirely avoided politics in the speech. The pastor, Jeremy Ragland — who said he had received hateful messages wishing his children would get molested — spoke with Moore’s campaign staff at the event. “Judge Moore’s campaign told me that their data has Judge Moore up by nine,” Ragland told PJ Media.
He further noted that local reporters said the church event “cemented his win,” even though recent public polls have Moore and Jones neck-and-neck.
Perhaps Trump is shifting with the political wind; perhaps he no longer thinks the allegations against Moore are credible. Then again, Democrats have done their share of obstruction on the tax bill.
Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) cancelled a scheduled meeting with Trump to discuss averting a government shutdown. They dismissed the scheduled event as “a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement.”
Trump charged that “they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE taxes.”
As the Senate moved to vote on tax reform, Democrats posted photos of the bill on social media, complaining that Republicans added last-minute changes in the form of illegible handwritten notes.
I was just handed a 479-page tax bill a few hours before the vote. One page literally has hand scribbled policy changes on it that can’t be read. This is Washington, D.C. at its worst. Montanans deserve so much better. pic.twitter.com/q6lTpXoXS0
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) December 2, 2017
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) shot down comparisons with Pelosi’s infamous statement about Obamacare — “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
“This is so disingenuous to say, ‘well, we haven’t seen it, we haven’t seen it,'” Perdue told PJ Media. “We’ve been dealing with these issues for weeks — over 70 hearings in the last few years on tax reform, 70 hearings.”
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said Senators were unable to read the whole bill before voting on it, but they have read “a summary of what each of the parts does.” He noted that “the actual text itself will be completed and then it will go into a conference committee where it will come back out again. So most of us have looked at all of the analysis of each one of the sections, section-by-section, that part has been completed.”
Even so, every Democrat voted against the bill. Trump’s charge of obstruction, and his reasoning for supporting Moore, make sense, even though the way Republicans passed the Senate bill deserves criticism.
Whether Moore or Jones wins on December 12, there will be another election for the seat in 2020. Trump’s late endorsement may not have a strong impact on the race eight days out, but it might give Moore a late boost.